“Now, more than ever travellers are prepared to meld their own need for wellness with that of the planet. And this is inspiring.” – Dimiter Georgiev, Managing Director and Tour Leader, Neophron Tours.
Neophron Tours offer specialized wildlife holidays in Bulgaria and beyond and actively support environment friendly tourism that raises awareness of wildlife and nature conservation.
In the wake of Covid, they are seeing an even greater shift towards more meaningful and conscious travel – and are offering more thoughtful, private and flexible tours in response.
Dimiter Georgiev, Managing Director and Tour Leader at Neophron Tours, shares his reflections on the post-Covid travel industry, his commitment to environment friendly tourism and cultivating new memories together.
What single sentence describes your approach to ecotourism or sustainability?
Because we do care for nature, we offer wildlife tours and holidays with a positive effect on the livelihood of local people, the landscapes and the environment!
What makes your business unique?
Everywhere we go, we always try to support the local service providers and promote environment friendly tourism, believing that this will greatly contribute to improving the life of local people and will raise their awareness to wildlife and nature conservation.
We are a Founding Partner and Signatory of Terra Incognita’s Ethical Ecotourism Code of Conduct. This means that we commit to ethical ecotourism which creates win-win solutions for wildlife, local communities and the landscapes they share.
What success story are you most proud of so far?
One of our ultimate goals has always been to raise funds to help wildlife conservation in the different areas we visit during our tours
in Bulgaria and the Balkans.
Thanks to funds generated through our tours and the support of our tour participants, we have launched a special Wildlife Conservation Fund to help conserve the populations of a number of rare and endangered species of birds, such as the breeding Egyptian Vulture and Griffon Vulture in the Eastern Rhodopes, the Eastern Imperial Eagle in the Sakar Hills, the Semi-collared Flycatcher in the oak forests of the Eastern Balkan Range, the wintering Red-breasted Goose in Coastal Dobroudzha and many others.
We also help local Bulgarian NGOs, and the Wildllife Conservation Society in particular, in their crucial work for preservation of
different biodiversity rich areas in Bulgaria and saving those areas from deterioration. Under our proposals, several new protected areas have been declared and many others have been saved from destruction.
Tourism often comes under the spotlight as negatively impacting people and places. Why do you believe that ecotourism can be a positive force for good?
Ecotourism can be a powerful force for good from the local to global level by promoting awareness, understanding and appreciation for the environment, society and culture.
Besides, ecotourism is usually favored by people who would rather sacrifice comfort for a sustainable / eco-friendly experience, who would walk an extra mile in a sensitive area instead of disturbing wildlife or stay in a simpler, family-run hotel instead of choosing a fancy one providing unnecessary services that draw on natural resources. Now, more than ever travelers are prepared to meld their own need for wellness with that of the planet. And this is inspiring.
What have you learnt as a business during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The travel business is now a leisure business…and a smaller business.
The pandemic fundamentally changed the priorities, values and behavior of travelers—whether by necessity or choice. Unsurprisingly, the emphasis is now on traveling as safely and healthily as possible.
But consumers are also much more aware of the environmental and societal impact of their travel choices, building on a trend that predates the pandemic. Travelers in the post-COVID era are looking for sustainable experiences that blend their own need for wellness with that of the planet.
What can travelers and guests do to help support a better tourism industry?
Choose carefully, think about the planet and learn to appreciate it seeking the great outdoors, majestic scenery and wildlife.
What’s next for you?
Post-pandemic, it seems that our trips will be mainly private and more thoughtful. In many ways, they reflect the last year. Our customers are travelling “more meaningfully and consciously than ever before.” As we begin to move out into the world again, we redesigned part of our tours to make them more representative and including. Flexibility and last minute booking are now the rule, rather than an exception.
Here you can have a look at the selection of our scheduled tours: http://neophrontours.bg/
What are you looking forward to?
Our newfound appreciation for what we gain when we travel – it’s the people we bring with us and the memories we cultivate together.
At Terra Incognita, we’re proud to feature Neophron Tours’ Birds of Prey Tour and Woodpeckers, Owls and Grouse Tour. To learn more about Neophron Tours and the other wildlife adventures they offer, you can also visit their website and upcoming tours.
For more photo inspiration, check out Neophron’s photo gallery, their incredible Vulture Hide Photography or their Facebook page.
Main image: European Bee-Eaters by Mladen Vasilev.